F1 2021: Decoding the title race between Verstappen and Hamilton
The Formula 1 2021 season is set for an enthralling finish. The action shifts to Qatar this weekend. Post that, there will be the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi GP respectively. This season has been a two-way race between Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton. With very little to separate the two, we decode the title race.
- This year fans are blessed to witness an epic battle between two drivers who have been neck-to-neck all season.
- Despite the drama and high intensity, it has been a fun ride with both drivers going for the kill.
- Verstappen has a slender lead over Hamilton and things could change quickly.
- One expects the battle to go down the wire until the final race.
Verstappen started the season by finishing second at the Bahrain GP. He won the Emilia Romagna GP next before successive second-placed finishes in Portugal and Spain. He won the Monaco GP, French GP, Steiemark GP, Austrian GP, Belgian GP, and Dutch GP. This was followed by second-placed finishes in Russia and Turkey. Verstappen won races in USA and Mexico before finishing second in Brazil.
Verstappen has 15 podium finishes in 2021. Notably, he has won nine races, besides earning second-placed finishes on six occasions. He also has three more Top 10 finishes and was ruled out of the Azerbaijan GP. The Red Bull driver has collected 332.5 points and tops the F1 2021 Driver Standings.
Hamilton won the Bahrain GP and was second at the Emilia Romagna GP. He won in Portugal and Spain. He clocked second-placed finishes at the French GP and Steiemark GP. Hamilton won the British GP before finishing second in Hungary and third in Belgium. He finished second at the Dutch GP before winning in Russia and Brazil. There were second-placed finishes (USA and Mexico).
Hamilton has 14 podium finishes in 2021. Notably, he has won six races, besides earning second-placed finishes on seven occasions. He also has four more Top 10 finishes and was ruled out of two other races. The seven-time world champion has collected 318.5 points and is second in the F1 2021 Driver Standings.
Verstappen is looking for his first world title and he will aim to build on the 14-point lead over Hamilton. It will be key for the Dutchman to fend off Hamilton, who is aiming to win a record-breaking eighth drivers' championship. The win for Hamilton in Brazil was massive despite the Briton facing two penalties.
Hamilton began last weekend 21 points behind Verstappen. Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying after being penalized. He had to start at the back of the 24-lap "sprint" event, finishing fifth to start the GP 10th. This was due to a separate five-place grid penalty. Hamilton fought hard and overtook Verstappen with 12 laps to go for his first win since August.
There are 78 points still available across the final three races. There are 25 points for a race win alongside a point for the fastest lap. According to BBC, if Verstappen wins in Qatar and Hamilton finishes second, the Dutchman can afford to finish second at the final two races and still win the title.